2007-05-24 / News

Planning panel denies proposed Clinton Ave. parking plan

By Michaela Kennedy

Planning Commission members showed wear as they continued a hearing on a contentious request to amend a development plan for a newly built house on Clinton Avenue. Applicant Jack Brittain of Windridge Properties was denied a recommendation for a parking amendment required for the third floor of the building, at the board's May 16 meeting.

James Donnelly, the attorney representing Brittain, showed a rendering of the Clinton Avenue property and the abutting property owned by Edward Holland. He noted a parking agreement had been drawn up between the neighbors. "We are on zoning next week. We found that he has 17 extra spaces that he is willing to let us use," Donnelly told the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Betty Hubbard complained that the site plan provided by Brittain and Holland did not give specific information about the parking spaces and flow of traffic. She noted the board did not receive the information needed from the applicant to make a recommendation.

Chairman Gary Girard asked how the lot in the rear would be accessed and if traffic flow would change. He also asked if there would be an easement for the parking spaces. Donnelly responded that the parking agreement covered the details.

Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero explained the parking agreement would be linked to a title search. "A future owner would know what the agreement involved is," he said.

Commissioner Victor Calabretta agreed with Hubbard about the need for a site plan that showed parking places. Calabretta showed annoyance that the applicant failed to provide a clear amended plan. "I am offended that an attorney can come in with this and say it's the best they can do. It's this kind of miscommunication that has brought us to this point," he said.

Planning Commissioner Richard Ventrone moved to deny changes to the plan based on modifications made to the buildings. He listed all modifications to the building as findings of fact, including changes that enhanced the building's appearance.

Ventrone voiced frustration that the applicant still did not adequately address the questions about the modifications made to the development.

Commissioner Barry Holland protested the motion, calling it "grossly over-exaggerated." Holland pointed out that some of the modifications listed as findings of fact for the motion were improvements to the plan. He said he had no problem with the changes "as long as the amendments that were made do not deviate significantly from the comprehensive plan."

The motion carried, with Holland and Calabretta voting against it.

In other business, the commission unanimously voted to deny a request to combine the master plan and preliminary phases of review for the major land development project at 61 Narragansett Ave.

Girard told applicants Allan and Nancy Randall the denial was in the interest of the public good, since the project would have a high-profile spot on the main street. He noted the importance of public involvement in the development of the downtown character, especially with the development of a downtown ordinance at hand.

In correspondence, the commission: + Acknowledged a letter from the

planning office to Marjorie Prior and Bessie Rhodin, granting approval for an administrative

subdivision at Columbia Avenue

and Windsor Street.

+ Received a notice from the

Coastal Resources Management Council allowing the construction of a residential boating facility, extending 134 feet beyond mean low water tide mark requiring an

84-ft. length variance from the

50-ft. standard.

+ Received a notice from the

CRMC agreeing to allow construction of a dock to extend 90 feet beyond MLW, requiring a

40-ft. variance.

Girard noted that the first week in July would be a vacation week for the board.

Commissioners Jean Brown and Michael White were absent.

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